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Andrew Berends, Cameraman on Oscar-Winning ‘Free Solo,’ Dies

“Free Solo” cameraman and documentary filmmaker Andrew Berends has died. He was 46. Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, co-director of the Oscar-winning film, posted a tribute to her “wonderful friend” on Instagram Sunday. “We have lost a wonderful friend and an important filmmaker,” wrote Vasarhelyi, whom he collaborated with on several films, including “Incorruptible,” “Little Troopers” and…

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Andrew Berends, Cameraman on Oscar-Winning ‘Free Solo,’ Dies

“Free Solo” cameraman and documentary filmmaker Andrew Berends has died. He was 46.

Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, co-director of the Oscar-winning film, posted a tribute to her “wonderful friend” on Instagram Sunday.

“We have lost a wonderful friend and an important filmmaker,” wrote Vasarhelyi, whom he collaborated with on several films, including “Incorruptible,” “Little Troopers” and most recently “Free Solo,” which won the Best Documentary Feature Oscar earlier this year.

Also Read: Andre Previn, 4-Time Oscar-Winning Composer and Conductor, Dies at 89

“You touched so many lives,” she continued. “I know the pain you felt was profound, real and relentless. I know you suffered. I can only hope you have finally found some peace and justice as you so deserve it. I’m sorry it was this way. Our community lost an amazing person. I will always love and remember you Andy.”

His cause of death was not released Sunday.

Berends made several films that shed light on conflicts across the globe, particularly in Africa. During the filming of “Delta Boys,” which explored the militancy in the oil-rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria, he was arrested, detained for 10 days, and expelled from the country by the Nigerian government in a bid to suppress media coverage of the conflict.

Also Read: Janice Freeman, Former ‘The Voice’ Contestant, Dies at 33

His first documentary, “Urk,” about Dutch fishermen on the North Sea, was nominated for the International Documentary Association’s Pare Lorentz Award, and was awarded the International Documentary Association “Courage Under Fire” award for his film “The Blood of My Brother” about an Iraqi family whose son was killed by an American patrol.

Read Vasarhelyi’s complete tribute in the post below.

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We have lost a wonderful friend and an important filmmaker – Andrew Berends. I first met Andy in 2006 when I saw his film Blood of my Brother. I was taken by his poignant and human images and asked our mutual friend Gwyn Welles to introduce us. We found that we had a lot in common including our passion for Africa. Andy and I went on to make 2 films together, Incorruptible and Little Troopers. We also collaborated on many other projects. We traveled throughout West Africa, Europe, Kosovo, the US and most recently he filmed with jimmy and my team on Free Solo. Andy’s intelligence, sensitivity, bravery, loyalty, strength, perfectionism and fierce sense of justice made him an excellent filmmaker and a trusted friend. Andy the images you captured and the stories you told are beautiful and critical and they will live on. Thank you for being my friend and collaborator all these years. I will miss your goofy sense of humor, your infectious hope, your gravely voice, your sensitivity, your great notes giving, your creativity, your biking outfits, your unique morning routines, your fraught but hilarious relationship stories, your unbridled passion, your exacting perfectionism, your love and your friendship. You protected me when things got tough both in and off the field. Your work was so so good. You accepted me and other friends worts and all — yet always demanded that we rise to our best selves. You required the same of yourself and that’s why you were such a good filmmaker and such a complex friend. You touched so many lives. I know the pain you felt was profound, real and relentless. I know you suffered. I can only hope you have finally found some peace and justice as you so deserve it. I’m sorry it was this way. Our community lost an amazing person. I will always love and remember you Andy. I encourage everyone to watch Andy’s remarkable films. Urk (2003) The Blood of My Brother (2005), Delta Boys (2012), Madina’s Dream (2015)

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Anna Faris Opens Up About The Aftermath Of

Happily divorced exes Anna Faris and Chris Pratt are working toward the “fantasy idea” of spending the holidays together, the actress recently revealed.  During an appearance on the “Divorce Sucks” podcast with famous Hollywood divorce attorney Laura Wasser, Faris spoke about her relationship with Pratt, with whom she shares a son, Jack.  “Our goal was…

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Anna Faris Opens Up About The Aftermath Of

Happily divorced exes Anna Faris and Chris Pratt are working toward the “fantasy idea” of spending the holidays together, the actress recently revealed. 

During an appearance on the “Divorce Sucks” podcast with famous Hollywood divorce attorney Laura Wasser, Faris spoke about her relationship with Pratt, with whom she shares a son, Jack. 

“Our goal was to have group Thanksgiving dinners together and to be at that place,” she said. “Do we do that sooner or later? Grudge-holding is not something that Chris and I do.” 

Anna Faris and Chris Pratt attend a screening of



Anna Faris and Chris Pratt attend a screening of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” in 2017 in London.

“So we wanted to make sure, of course, that Jack was happy but that we were happy and supportive of each other and that we could have this fantasy idea of, do we all spend Christmas together? Do we all vacation together?” she asked. “How do we make sure that everybody that we love feels safe and that we also respect the love we have for each other?” 

Faris added that “throughout all of these uncoupling circumstances,” she and Pratt have been able to maintain “kindness and love” toward each other. 

The actress added that he called her before he proposed to his now-fiancée, Katherine Schwarzenegger. 

“So, he was so sweet, as he always is. He called me like, ‘So, I’m going to ask Katherine to marry me. I just wanted to give you a heads up.’ And I was like, ‘That’s awesome!’ and I told him that I was an ordained minister,” Faris said. 

Since splitting with Pratt, she has been dating cinematographer Michael Barrett, whom she met while filming the remake of “Overboard.” The two were first linked in November 2017 after vacationing together in Italy.

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Avenge the Fallen with New Avengers: Endgame Character

Avenge the fallen with new Avengers: Endgame character postersWith Avengers: Endgame set to debut in theaters in one month, a bunch of new character posters have been released by Marvel, highlighting those who survived Thanos’ infamous snap in color with those turned to ash in black and white. Check out the new posters in the gallery…

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Avenge the Fallen with New Avengers: Endgame Character

Avenge the Fallen with New Avengers: Endgame Character Posters

Avenge the fallen with new Avengers: Endgame character posters

With Avengers: Endgame set to debut in theaters in one month, a bunch of new character posters have been released by Marvel, highlighting those who survived Thanos’ infamous snap in color with those turned to ash in black and white. Check out the new posters in the gallery below and prepare to avenge the fallen on April 26!

RELATED: New International Poster and TV Spots for Avengers: Endgame Released

Last year’s Avengers: Infinity War saw the titular superhero team take the fight to Thanos in order to stop his attempt at exterminating half of the universe’s population with the Infinity stones. But it was to no avail, as he was able to successfully collect them all and snap his fingers, wiping out half of all life from existence in a cloud of ash.

The grave course of events set in motion by Thanos that wiped out half the universe and fractured the Avengers ranks compels the remaining Avengers to take one final stand in Marvel Studios’ grand conclusion to twenty-two films, “Avengers: Endgame.”

RELATED: Avengers: Endgame TV Spot Honors Infinity War’s Fallen Heroes

Confirmed cast members for the untitled fourth Avengers film so far include Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Sean Gunn, Paul Rudd, Brie Larson, Karen Gillan, Katherine Langford and Josh Brolin.

Avengers: Endgame will open on April 26.

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Dumbo Review: Tim Burton’s Remake Never Takes Flight

Some stories are best left as they are. This is a fairly unavoidable takeaway from Tim Burton’s unnecessary live-action/CG remake of the Disney animated classic Dumbo. Though not remotely as noxious and garish as his 2010 version of Alice in Wonderland, Burton has not solved the puzzle of figuring out a halfway decent creative reason…

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Dumbo Review: Tim Burton’s Remake Never Takes Flight

dumbo trailer

Some stories are best left as they are. This is a fairly unavoidable takeaway from Tim Burton’s unnecessary live-action/CG remake of the Disney animated classic Dumbo. Though not remotely as noxious and garish as his 2010 version of Alice in Wonderland, Burton has not solved the puzzle of figuring out a halfway decent creative reason for this film to exist. An A-list cast, high budget, and all the other trappings of a modern blockbuster can’t get this thing off the ground.

Much of the first half of this Ehren Kruger-penned story will be recognizable to anyone who remembers the 1941 film. There’s a ramshackle circus at which an elephant gives birth to a baby with inexplicably large ears that enable it to fly, to everyone’s delight. Now, though, a circus worker (Colin Farrell) and his two kids are charged with looking after the cruelly nicknamed Dumbo. (This version of the story concocts a painfully flimsy reason for anyone to call the elephant Dumbo, and not Jumbo Jr.) Once a world-renowned impresario (Michael Keaton) with a flashy circus/theme-park hybrid gets word of a flying elephant, it’s up to Farrell’s single dad and his kids to help the eponymous flier out.

Unlike Alice, Dumbo often rises to the level of tolerable. That is, of course, a woefully low bar to clear, but with the help of two weird, energetic performances as well as Rick Heinrichs’ production design, Dumbo never sinks into the same badness that Burton’s previous Disney remake did. But the core of the story is poorly fleshed out. Once, Jumbo Jr. (AKA Dumbo) was the stoic, sympathetic and silent lead. Here, he’s a supporting player, rendered in CG that’s never as able to evoke emotion as the hand-drawn iteration from the 1940s did.

Instead, Dumbo is just part of the drama of whether or not a lonely veteran/widower can reconnect with his kids, including a daughter who is obsessed with science. It should be here noted that Disney may deserve kudos for using its recent live-action fare to promote portrayals of young women who have more on their minds than romance. But it would be nice if the screenplays to these films crafted fully realized characters, instead of creating a sense of checking off boxes. Here, the young girl is a scientist in the making who carries around a key given to her by her now-dead mother, which is essentially the same as the lead character from last year’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. The second time is not the charm in this case.

The human characters in the original film, for both budgetary and creative reasons, are mostly non-entities. Given a larger scale and much bigger budget, the new film hasn’t figured out a way to make most of them any more interesting. Two campy exceptions are Burton’s old friends Batman and the Penguin. Keaton and Danny DeVito, the latter as the ringmaster of a chintzy circus where Dumbo first takes flight, are hamming it up to hog heaven here. Keaton’s diving into each line of dialogue like it’s a four-course meal; it’s difficult not to find Keaton saying “You beautiful one-armed cowboy” hilarious. And DeVito is cutting loose as the ringmaster in the early going, chewing up the green-screened scenery as much as Keaton.

The rest of the cast, though, is saddled with a storyline that leans too hard on the treacle while backgrounding the elephant that ought to be at the forefront of the emotion. Farrell does the best he can as a physically disabled World War I veteran who doesn’t know how to talk to his kids, but the combination of character tropes is just too familiar, in a story that thrives on the bizarre. Dumbo does hit some of the familiar beats of the original film, from a sorrowful rendition of “Baby Mine” to the hallucinatory “Pink Elephants on Parade”, but does so in ways that simply serve as reminders of how much better the animated film does it. (Burton’s film, wisely and unsurprisingly, sidesteps the original film’s racism in a number like “When I See an Elephant Fly,” but the way in which the new movie quotes that song is…baffling.)

To date, the best remake of an older Disney film is David Lowery’s 2016 retelling of Pete’s Dragon. That film has one major advantage that none of the others boast: a lack of a passionate fanbase. Not many people hold the original Pete’s Dragon in high regard, which enabled Lowery and his crew to take the basic premise of the 1977 original — of a boy who has a dragon companion — and build an entirely new story around that. Dumbo is famously one of Disney’s shortest films, so it’s unsurprising that a good chunk of the remake is telling an entirely new story. But that new story is uninspired, and shackled to enough shoehorned-in flourishes from the original, that the overall result is weird without being consistent, off-beat while being mildly off-putting.

All that said, Dumbo has a couple of decent qualities — the design of the theme park/circus run by Keaton’s character is remarkable, even if it’s inexplicably meant to take place in 1919 when such technology was impossible. So you could say that this is technically Tim Burton’s best film in at least a decade, which is more of a backhanded compliment than anything else. Burton’s recent films include the misbegotten Alice in Wonderland and Dark Shadows, late-stage blemishes on a filmography that began with such promise. There are flashes of intrigue in Dumbo, but also dull, uninspired details and characters. Throughout long chunks of this film, I had the same persistent thought: if only they made a version of this story that was all about the elephant, and not the humans. Good thing they already did.

/Film Rating: 4 out of 10

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